If relaxation and a moment of mental peace are currently not in the lexicon of your daily routine, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. Practised by many religions across the world and a key pillar in the yogic community, meditation is the ancient technique of training one’s mind with the goal of creating clarity and calmness. Whether you want to give it a go in a quiet spot outdoors or are looking to create a dedicated meditation room in your home, here’s what you’ll need to get started and the benefits you’ll enjoy along the way.
What are the benefits of meditation?
Through habitual use, the benefits of meditation are seemingly endless and are increasingly being recognised by medical professionals. Aside from general relaxation (we could all do with a bit of that,) meditation offers a host of outcomes that improve quality of life, and, even better, these benefits only increase through repetitive practice. One thing is clear, if it includes some me-time spent away from screens it sounds worth a try.
It could be the answer to better sleep
Quieting the mind and body, meditation’s relaxing capabilities naturally translate into a better night’s sleep. Known to solve insomnia as effectively as sleep medication, meditation also works to improve the quality of sleep from those who usually have no issues nodding off by triggering the relaxation response. For best results, practice some mindful meditation before sinking into your bed and enjoy drifting off in (hopefully) record time.
It helps to lower cortisol levels
With consistently busy lives being the norm and not the exception these days, lowering high cortisol levels, aka the stress hormone, is an unsurprisingly popular goal. Danielle Pacheco of The Sleep Foundation explains how “over the long term, the relaxation response (induced through meditation) reduces stress-related inflammation and oxidative stress and improves insulin resistance.” Not only focusing the mind away from a constant stream of worries and back to your breathing, taking a little time away from your to-do list to focus on yourself can do the world of good.
It increases your attention span
Focusing the mind is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. Through repeated practice, your ability to concentrate should improve in both its duration and intensity even if you don’t choose to commit to long-term practice. With most people being susceptible to constant news, alerts and information thanks to social media, our attention spans are diminishing across the world. With little time to digest this information, our brains have learnt to working overtime to cope whilst also being on the hunt for the next hit of dopamine. Taking even 10 minutes away from this and instead spending it on a variety of meditation techniques can see significant improvements on focus and productivity.
How to create a meditation room
Whilst some time to yourself may be sounding like a dream, if you’re wondering how you’re going to manage a moment of solitude you’re not alone. Luckily, creating a meditation room is far more simple to do and requires far less space than you might think. Here’s how to do it.
Tap into some minimalistic interior inspiration. The point of this space is to give your mind room to focus, not a plethora of activities or things to add to the to-do list to distract you. So clear your space and keep the furniture in the room to a minimum. A chair, a rug and perhaps a small desk if you want to incorporate some journaling into your mindful practice.
Relaxing, of course, requires comfort, so consider blankets and inviting pillows as an essential part of softening the space. If a pared back look really isn’t your style, introduce natural textures and biophilic influences into your space for a decoration that doesn’t distract and offers its own health benefits.
Arguably the key to an optimal meditation room lies in acquiring the perfect chair. Though purpose-built meditation chairs do belong on the market, they often lack a certain - shall we say - aesthetic prowess. Preferring our homes to be a cumulation of furniture that is equally functional and attractive, we would opt for a piece that looks as good as it feels. Think deep seating and alluring fabrics and you’ll be on the right track.